On a Monday night, I was in my kitchen cooking up dinner while listening to one of my favorite podcasts, The Desert Oracle. This addiction first started with the little yellow periodical I found while in a charming Moab bookstore on my last moto trip.
I have an ongoing love affair with the deserts of the Southwest. I’m captivated by the beauty of its extreme landscapes and its vast terrain. There is something haunting about the jagged mountains and rock formations that stand out against the sky’s full moon.
So that night while listening to stories of the desert, I thought, I need to take one more moto trip before the year ends. So it was decided-I would take a long weekend and go to Joshua Tree. My good friend Mike decided he wanted to tag along. As soon as this was decided, Pickles and I started mapping out our route.
Every time I take a moto trip, I have a routine of what I do to get ready. The packing of gear, the mapping of routes, and the trip to the gas station the night before to top off the tank.
When I went to start up my bike, it was popping and backfiring like crazy (sorry neighbors). This never happened before and I was a bit worried. I rode it to the gas station on side roads just in case it were to die on me. It didn’t, but it wasn’t happy.
I called my good friend and riding buddy, Dick and told him my story. He also has a Triumph Bonneville and walked me through what it could be. He told me to check the intake manifold and sure enough, I had a cap that was missing. I went to the auto parts store to buy a pack of new caps and alas, the crisis was averted! Whew-thank you Dick and thank God it was discovered the night before.
Thursday morning, bright and early I was all packed up and ready to head south to the desert.
Before leaving, to ease my girlfriend’s mind, I turned on Google Share, or what I like to call; Google Stalker. It allows the person you choose to see your location at all times. As I got halfway down the state of California, I get a text from her asking if I’m okay. It seems that Google Stalker froze my location as I was passing Kaiser Hospital ER and she thought that was where I ended up.
Thanks Google! It had now done the exact opposite of what I was trying to accomplish, which was to put her mind at ease that nothing could possibly go wrong. Soon enough though, it unfroze and all was well.
I met up with Mike just an hour south and from there, we continued on our journey together down the miserable Interstate 5. While it was the crappy I-5, the time flew by quickly while we shared stories through our headsets and laughed about stuff like aliens, probes, and other desert oddities.
We ended day one in Barstow, CA–just an hour and a half outside of Joshua Tree Nat’l Park. We knew our chances of snagging a campground at night would be slim and I’m not a fan of setting up a tent in the dark so we opted for Super 8, a hot shower, and a big Italian dinner.
Day one of boring super slab was out of the way, and we were excited to embark on the better part of the trip. Stay tuned for day two and three coming up!